Viridis Arcus (VA) has come a long way from being a one-star student organization to becoming one of the pioneer teams of the ever-growing AcadArena esports foundation.
Just last October, it was announced that DLSU’s gaming superstar Xavier Juan or “xavi8k” will be playing for BREN Esports, the premier esports team in Southeast Asia.
With VA dominating the local collegiate scene—recently capping a three-peat in AcadArena’s Valorant University Alliance Cup—the organization continues to hone masterful players who have shown their prowess at the international level.
Among these players is Juan’s former VA comrade, Ryan Danao or “typhoid”, who made the jump from collegiate esports to the international professional level after being recruited to play for Rising Sun Esports in the United States. Going back to his Valorant roots, Danao shares his experiences playing for VA and competing professionally abroad.
Danao’s love for gaming stems from his high school days, having been known for sweeping through local Counterstrike: Global Offensive tournaments. In college, he eventually found himself continuing this path which “changed his life.” Speaking highly of Juan, Danao says, “I met xavi8k in a ranked game, who is now one of my closest friends to this day, and he invited me to tryout for the team, Viridis Arcus.”
He stresses a valuable discovery while joining the esports movement through VA, “Being a part of this team allowed me to see a side of me that I never knew I even had: my passion in becoming a professional Valorant player.”
When it came to his success in Valorant, he shares, “I have been playing professional Valorant since the start of COVID-19. I climbed my way up to Radiant and made a name for myself in [Southeast Asia] servers.”
Similar to Juan, Danao also had a brief stint with BREN Esports. “Visiting the BREN facility was another surreal experience that changed my life. This made me discover an even bigger dream of mine to create my own esports organization if my streaming or pro career in Valorant goes well,” he shares.
Grind does not stop
Currently, he trains with his brother Carl Danao or “cawell”, who currently plays for the University of San Francisco, with the duo growing in the professional gaming scene and having their impact felt by a global audience.
Danao’s warmup routine includes rigorous deathmatches and practices in the range to start the day. Subsequently, this translates to daily scrimmages with Rising Sun Esports. He adds, “We also give ourselves rest days to focus on school and other activities, but for the most part, we try to have five practice days in a week.”
Planning team strategies is crucial for any game, which he says is being practiced even in custom games. He furthers, “We like [strategy] talking…as we try out these set plays in [scrimmages].”
The VA alum also shares wisdom in balancing his education as a student in the University of Washington and his professional career, “If you plan on taking esports seriously, my advice…is to be able to be good at balancing that with other aspects of your life. The key is training your judgment in order to practice the perfect balance that works out for you.”
Developing the industry
Danao considers his time competing in AcadArena as one of his most significant accomplishments, reaching as far as fourth place in all of Asia at the collegiate level with VA.
With esports emerging as a competitive stage, he is glad to see the sport developing. “I think that esports being integrated into universities is something that I’m really happy to see. Here in the United States, they support student players by offering big scholarships. I think that this is great because it gives these students a chance to pursue their dreams while compensating them enough for them to stay motivated in school,” he expresses.
Building on his competitive journey, Danao shares his aspirations, “My dream is to make a name for myself in [North America] as both a streamer and a pro Valorant player.” On top of that, he hopes to move back to the Philippines to start his own esports organization “to give a chance to other Filipinos who have the same dream.” “Hopefully by then, I’d have a big enough following and a lot of connections to create a successful organization,” he states.
As Danao continues to improve his pro gaming resume, typhoid hopes to pursue a long term esports career.